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What if...
October 17, 2001
3:27 pm
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Sal
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What if there were no hypothetical questions?

October 18, 2001
11:32 am
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scherza
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Then researchers would be in a serious pickle over what to do with their time, since that is their business...answering such things....

Humankind's psychic, intellectual, and moral evolution would come to a screeching halt, as well! There would be no way to break out of the Old Box to build the New One! 🙂

Also...hypothetically speaking...we wouldn't even be having this cyber conversation in the first place, you Rascal!!!

"Imagination is better than knowledge." -Albert Einstein

*********:)
What if people were given the power and recognition and attention they need by doing random and senseless acts of kindness?

Imagine this: Getting the same duration and intensity of news coverage terrible things get for doing really truly GREAT things!

Why does it have to be a bad thing to brag about doing good things...?

What if revenge could be reshaped to provide a good outcome for society while also satifying the emotional need of the "perpetrator?"

Why do we seem to study disturbing things so intensely while letting good things slip by?

Why don't we have psychiatric diagnoses for people who know how to transform traumas into honest personal triumphs?

What if we studied these people intensely and figured out a way to make this knowledge known and easily used in the greater population?

What if we all recognized our need for connectedness and loved one another and worked to enhance our connection with others...no matter how different they were?

"...with rejection comes anger, and with anger comes some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime, guilt - and that is the story of mankind." -John Steinbeck, "East of Eden"

October 18, 2001
12:33 pm
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There would be no question, they would only be what is, with out growth or change or challenge. Perhaps no thinking? the earth would be flat and we would all be in Italy or Spain.

October 19, 2001
8:13 am
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scherza
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I think that it is valuable to know how to be with "what is," but I do not believe that it is the *only* best way to be in the world.... Just as we can get really tied into being with our preconceived notions, being without them completely leaves us open to repeating the same mistakes time and again. So...modulating our presence between these two ways of being seems to be the healthiest way to live! For example, by having my preconceived notion that walking alone at 2am in the worst part of town where women often get raped during that period in that place is a safety protection for me. I reduce the probability of being physically violated by changing my behavior to fit that belief...or I atleast enhance my feeling of self protection by doing this. On the other hand, if I go there not expecting anything and just being with the moment in that place with no preconceived notions, I may get raped or I may connect with a "lost soul" that needed my hand to reach out to him/her or nothing happens or anything happens. It opens things up for possibilities not yet imagined. For me, it is a personal intention to decide whether or not to be with your boundaries and preconceived notions or not. Knowing that they are there is a very important part of the growth, change, evolution process, as well.

The meanings we assign experiences are very powerful and life altering. I have learned this at a very young age, in fact....

October 26, 2001
6:45 am
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scherza
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There will be no chance of losing that easily...you know....

BTW: Just b/c you are blonde doesn't necessarily mean that you have to get a headache over intense cerebral discourse...! You lazy thing!

October 26, 2001
10:01 am
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Sal
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I'm all for Italy!!

October 26, 2001
6:09 pm
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Scherza
In your response on the 19-Oct-01 you said, "I think that it is valuable to know how to be with "what is," but I do not believe that it is the *only* best way to be in the world.... Just as we can get really tied into being with our preconceived notions, being without them completely leaves us open to repeating the same mistakes time and again."

The Ch'an Buddhists talk about two realities:

(1) absolute reality.
(2) relative reality.

Being free of any preconceptions or preconditioning, is in their view to be in touch with absolute reality - i.e. enlightened, Buddahood, nirvana or call it what you will. They say the state is beyond our wildest imaginations.

However, since there are very few Buddhas if any strolling this planet, most of us can only aspire to this state. Given that we were in this state, by 'seeing' absolute reality we would be oh so much more aware of our relative realities. Thus in respecting, loving and taking care of the 'horse' that we ride, we would certainly not put that 'horse' in harm's way for any no good purpose. Thus being in the here and now without preconceptions does not imply any lack of wisdom - in fact the very opposite.

I was talking to a beautiful Chinese Buddhist nun last week about these issues. She said that wisdom and compassion both go hand in hand. One without the other is dangerous. Yet of the two, wisdom must lead and direct the compassion(love).

Thus on the road to freedom from the suffering that is caused by our lack of wisdom (ignorance) we will stumble and make mistakes that will result in suffering for us and others. However, in order to avoid as much generation of suffering as possible, it serves us well to try to see how our preconditioning drives us into excessive fear and folly and let go of it.

Living in the here and now, whilst planning wisely for the future, without living in it in our imagination, is a powerful way to reduce our fear and anxiety levels.

Seeing the inherent impermanence of all things is a powerful adjunct to attaining wisdom. The letting go of the grasping at anything impermanent then prevents many frustrations that come from trying to control the 'tides' of life.

Today I am going to visit an old buddy of mine. He has hairs growing from his tongue. The reason is that they grafted part of his arm into his mouth where his tongue was. He had cancer and facial reconstruction has done little to offset the double pneumonia or the failing pancreas. I have photos of him and I in our prime strutting our stuff in the 'days of wine and roses'. His girlfriend is hoping that I can do something for him. I can only be with him and share with his a few moments of co-presence in the 'here and now'. Since he can't talk except with great difficulty and the aid of a trachy devise, and I cannot pretend to know what he is really going through, I think that have to be completely open to what the moment will bring for both of us.

- Sic transia gloria mundi.-

October 31, 2001
12:11 pm
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scherza
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Tez,

I had to read and reread your entry before choosing my response. Sorry for the delay....

I think that we are saying is similar but it is being said in a different way.

I think and feel that there is tremendous magic is "just being" and I find that meditations as such are very refreshing. My life is VERY altered for the better because of my natural tendency to do this....

Also, I think a coping skill I created for myself that you might find less desirable (?) is creating a vision of what COULD be and meditating my physical being INTO it, so that my body chemistry transforms as if it were true...the antithesis of depression....sort of. This got me through a very difficult adolescence....

Imagination is WONDERFUL and gives us ideas for the future...it can alter ones life tremendously.... I like to use it to make my life...and the lives of others around me...better! Inventors and scientists use this....

My position is that BOTH being in the absolute reality...AND using the dynamic force of your imagination in the relative reality...can be a powerful way to live...and to effect loving changes in the world around you....

As for your friend...with the hairy tongue...his mind...his imagination...and his soul are still in tact. Only his appearance has changed...but then so does all of our appearances over time....

When I was diagnosed as having non Hodgkins lymphoma at 23, I had 10% chance of survival in the first year and I was 85 pounds of yellowy-gray, dried flesh. I had a surgical wound on my chest that stunk and that wouldn't heal. People gasped when they saw me...no hair on my head, bone thin, yellowing/gray skin. One friend ran from me crying and closed the door and locked me out b/c she couldn't handle it. I yelled through the door, "I am gonna beat this and I am gonna get better! You hear me?!?" No reply. I left.

I got "my affairs in order" AND I invested in an educational account...so I could go to college when I recovered. I used my imagination to create my reality...and I was able to do things faster than I was expected to do them. I am now in my 17th year of remission...still I have the scar on my chest reminding me that I am on borrowed time...which we all really are, actually. We are all terminal! It is a fact.

"Imagination is better than knowledge...." -Albert Einstein

November 1, 2001
5:26 pm
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Scherza.

I don't think my dear old buddy will ever leave his sick bed again. I spent about an hour with him. He could only nod his head a little and generate a weak smile. That was the extent of his communications. His girl friend was with us, so my conversation was very restricted. I left when I thought that he was wanting to sleep after a morphine injection took effect.

As for the imagination, amongst other things, it is a powerful adjunct to both achieving high motivation levels and calming aroused emotions. Of that I am sure. I use it all the time to create. First I visualize what I will create then I go to work and physically create my vision. Problems arise when we let our imagination run wildly into the future in a negative way. Then our emotions, not being able to discriminate between the past, present and future, become unnecessarily aroused into a state of anxiety. 99% of the time such uncontrolled excursions cause unnecessary suffering. I'm all for therapeutic, appropriate and constructive use of the imagination.

As for what is absolute reality, well...

November 1, 2001
10:07 pm
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scherza
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My impression was that absolute reality was the place where you get away from all of your preconceived notions and imaginations...to a kind of nothingness...where we withhold our judgements and past experiences so that we can be with what is...without confining it to our mind's limitiations.

You said, "The Ch'an Buddhists talk about two realities: (1) absolute reality. (2) relative reality. Being free of any preconceptions or preconditioning, is in their view to be in touch with absolute reality - i.e. enlightened, Buddahood, nirvana or call it what you will. They say the state is beyond our wildest imaginations." I was using your terms....

I am very sorry to hear about your friend's reality...it makes any other reality not terribly interesting....

Does your friend have a PCA pump? If he is getting regular morphine injections, he (or you) should ask for one.... A PCA is a patient controlled analgesic pump...this machine allows your friend to push a button to get a small dose (more often) as he needs it...so he can better control his pain without those frequent moments of unconsciousness that larger (and less often) doses remit. He will have a better life quality if he can be awake more without pain....

Also, I find that sometimes people visit my patients in the ICU and they run out of things to say...and then there is this awkward silence.... I recommend that they read something nurturing or fun or funny...it gives you something to say and it gives them a child-like nurturing...just to hear your voice reading poetry...or whatever...the news...maybe not that...but I think you get it....

Does he have email correspondence? His girlfriend could read him letters sent to him....and so could you....

Just ideas.

I read to my grandmother as she died. She curled up like a baby and went to sleep and didn't wake up again.... It felt like we had reversed our roles...she used to read to me as a small child...and now I was reading to her.

Again...my intention here is not to diminish your experience here with your friend. You and he and his girl friend...and everyone else involved here are in my thoughts and prayers.....

November 3, 2001
8:50 pm
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Scherza

Thanks for your response.

You said, "My impression was that absolute reality was the place where you get away from all of your preconceived notions and imaginations...to a kind of nothingness...where we withhold our judgements and past experiences so that we can be with what is...without confining it to our mind's limitiations."

According to the Buddhist absolute reality can only be viewed when one is totally enlightened. However total enlightenment is not a state of mindless nothingness. On the contrary, it is a state where "the all sees all". The self experiences its "allness" as opposed to its delusory "oneness" and thus experiences "omniscience".

However, regarding my word usage, this is what the 'Buddhist Sutra of Complete Enlightenment' says about that:

"To describe enlightenment, one must rely on the delusion of words, and thus one's description will be fundamentally delusional. Since one's description is delusional, the Dharma of which one has spoken must also be delusional." (The Dharma - when spelt with a capital D - is the Buddha's teachings)

I think that it was St. Thomas Aquinus who, after a mystical experience at the end of his life, said "All that I have written is but straw." Perhaps he had a momentary taste of "enlightenment".

Who is it that is conscious of the perceptions of self?

November 6, 2001
9:20 am
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scherza
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Tez....

This is truly interesting.... A boundary bender...as well as a mind bender...!

I am familiar with the Enlightenment movement and have found a few of their teachings a bit hard to wrap my mind around. One of my best friends is very involved in this philosophy and will be making it her entire life's work. She is from India and she is so amazing...she is quite young and yet VERY wise. She did not come from the affluent casts...and she worked very hard to get to the US for her nursing training. I had the honor of being her study partner...! She taught me how to meditate and I helped her pass her courses...her math background was horrible...for example....

My interpretation of my experience with the ideas of Enlightenment have lead me to see the "greater reality" as a void rather than as a full one-ness. Losing myself in a vacuum...a black hole. I will think about this a while...and write more.

I feel very touched right now...and I just want to enjoy that feeling for as long as I can....

Hugs...Scherza

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